Room for Two
Brockschmidt & Coleman design firm and Sud, a Sicilian antiques and art boutique, share space and clientele on Magazine Street
In 2019, Courtney Coleman and Bill Brockschmidt, partners in New York design firm Brockschmidt & Coleman, opened a New Orleans branch of their business on Magazine Street. Housed in a 2,100-square-foot, circa-1900s late Victorian-style New Orleans double shotgun, Brockschmidt & Coleman shares its bright and airy Crescent City office with Sud, a boutique specializing in Sicilian accessories, art and antiques. The boutique is a joint venture between Brockschmidt and his husband, Richard Dragisic, and provides a luxurious link between design and lifestyle.
“It was known from the beginning that B&C would operate as a separate business with the store, Sud, taking over the front of the building for the display of products,” said Dragisic. “[The] B&C offices required a consistent set of workspaces for the partners and the employees, while the Sud spaces were left free to allow for flexible display.”
To further delineate the two entities, Dragisic said they created arched openings and decorative painted elements throughout Sud, while the office “retains some of the qualities of a residence,” but there is a lot more common ground than the group anticipated. The two separate, but related businesses share some spaces in the building, including a studio, the commissary, as well as the conference room and garden, which are used for meetings and events.
“Originally the plan was for B&C to have separate studio and workspaces from Sud, and for Richard to have a workspace in part of the retail shop,” said Courtney Coleman. “However, since we really enjoy his company and had extra space in our studio, we offered him a desk there. The studio has now become the de facto Sud office, which has turned out to be nice [public relations] for B&C since Sud shoppers are introduced to our design work when they are checking out and having their Sicilian treasures wrapped.”
The team points to layout and planning as the most challenging aspect of designing the space, due to the long, skinny rooms characteristic of shotgun-style houses.
“We added an entire wall of shelves in the studio space to house all the fabric and finish samples we use in our design projects, and it has been great to have all of those things so easily accessible,” said Brockschmidt. “We also designed an enormous floor-to-ceiling bookcase in our shared conference room to house our collection of design books that we use every day.”
The sunny interior and home-like environment make the space comfortable for this group of creatives and its clientele.
“We even have a bar and a refrigerator stocked with wine and champagne,” said Dragisic, who is quick to define what sets both Sud and B&C apart from similar businesses. “The store is focused only on Sicily as a source for design items in New Orleans. B&C retains it national presence with the majority of its staff in New York and its growing list of projects throughout the South.”
B&C relies on remote work practices, including virtual meetings, chat and messaging for communication, and digital files for workflow cohesion with its New York office. This transition had already taken place when the COVID-19 lockdown and its subsequent mandates and protocols took effect. Dragisic said the company is “looking forward to seeing a regular season once COVID recedes from the scene.”
One silver lining of the pandemic, if you can call it that, for B&C has been in the location-based pivot they’ve made amid the crisis.
“When we opened our B&C branch office in New Orleans in 2019, we had envisioned going back and forth between here and our office in New York, where most of our staff is still located,” said Coleman. “Because of COVID, however, we have spent most of the last few months in New Orleans and have found everything about it enchanting.”
At a Glance
4021 Magazine St.
Date building was built
Move in date
Person(s) in Charge
Designers and owners at Brockschmidt & Coleman, William Brockschmidt and Courtney Coleman; Co-proprietors at Sud, William Brockschmidt and Richard Dragisic
Brockschmidt & Coleman was responsible for all renovation, including all new millwork
Brockschmidt & Coleman
Furnishings and art
All built-in millwork including offices, conference and kitchen by Brockschmidt & Coleman. All material and color selections by Brockschmidt & Coleman, including custom colors.